Canada will play their first game of the World Baseball Classic (WBC) against Italy in Phoenix, Ariz. on Friday afternoon.
The big story out of the Canadian camp this year has been Russell Martin’s withdrawal from the tournament. The way Martin conducted himself left a bad taste in my mouth, but I won’t rehash that story again here. Fortunately, I recently had the opportunity to interview two scrappy, selfless Canadians who will cherish the opportunity to play for their country in this year’s WBC.
Newmarket, Ont., native Pete Orr – who like Canada’s most famous Orr wears No. 4 and has the middle name Gordon – is playing for Canada despite being in a battle for the Philadelphia Phillies’ utility infielder’s job. About as modest and unassuming as they come, Orr has prioritized playing for his country at the risk of not receiving a big league pay cheque this season.
You can read the story I wrote about him here:
And you won’t find a more likeable player than Jonathan Malo, who boasts a skill set and personality remarkably similar to former Toronto Blue Jays fan favourite Johnny Mac. I think of Malo as “Johnny Mal” but I don’t think that nickname will stick. Set to turn 30 in September, Malo, who has won three international medals playing for Canada, is at a crossroads in his playing career. He played eight seasons in the Mets organization, before spending last season in his home province, tearing it up with the Canadian-American Association’s Quebec Capitales. He heads into the World Baseball Classic as a free agent. I’m hoping that shortly after it he’ll secure a contract in the pro affiliated ranks.
Here is my article on Malo: